Telling it straight ……

So,  in a nutshell – here it is…. the BIG secret, everything you thought you knew, validation of all of your assumptions (wink, wink) …. owning a restaurant is a sure fire way to make it to the Millionaire Club….. There it is…….The LIE … Wait – What? Yeah – that’s right- it’s not true.  Two things are for sure when you are buying (I’m not even an actual owner yet ) a full service, full-time, small town restaurant.  You will work the hardest work ever  – truly work your mind to the max & your feet/hands to the bones – AND you will often look at your bank account and wonder – What.The.Heck.?   When people say or expect that owning (buying) a restaurant means that you suddenly have plenty of $$$ and must be loaded financially –   Well, that may be one of the most laughable untruths  ever….. at least if we’re talking about MY restaurant – or most likely many small, family owned, newly opened or newly purchased restaurants in a Delta town.  Luckily, I never expected to become “rich” and most certainly not a millionaire.

If I stated our monthly expenses, you’d call “BullMess” on me.  It’s unbelievable.  I am saying UNBELIVEABLE.  I MEAN unbelievable.

Let me get to my point.  Between 2013 and 2016, our vendor, food & supply costs alone have increased $78k – That’s seventy eight thousand dollars, y’all.   WOW!  That number does not include increased utilities, payroll adjustments, unexpected repairs, work comp insurance increases, total failure of equipment, failed grease traps & outside pipes, roof and building repairs, etc. etc etc. we are JUST talking about food & supply costs.    2012 was a partial year and 2017 isn’t over yet.  I wanted whole years and real numbers.  I demanded it.  I needed to be convinced……more on that in a minute.

In 2014 we rolled out new menu inserts with a whopping $1 dollar increase in our steak prices.   For the next THREE YEARS,  everything continued to rise – our lettuce, seafood, beef, pork, chicken, fruit, dairy – paper products – you name it – everything.  I fought Peter tooth & nail on changing menu prices.  I refused – I threatened – I screamed (a lot) – I cried (even more) – I said words a lady shouldn’t say.  I would NOT increase our prices again.  Despite the rising costs – Despite our bank account – Despite that it had been almost 3 full years since any increase at all.   No matter that our bank account was embarrassingly low and we sometimes had to ask vendors to “hold our check”….  No matter all of that – I wouldn’t hear of it.  I wouldn’t do it.  Just.  NO.  The reality of the stress it put between us was mounting and it was about to peak.

In early to mid 2017 my stubbornness and obvious subpar business sense caught up with me and SLAPPED me right in the face.  We called the banker, called in an analyst, met with vendors, consulted with current or past restaurant owners and tried to find the problem – and most importantly, A REMEDY.   It was obvious to everyone except me.  We HAD to increase our prices.  Food expenses aren’t falling (the vendors pay more too), the utilities are still in the thousands and climbing, the bank note is still very much due every month, payroll MUST be met and the expenses are still rapidly rolling in, more and more and more.

So here we are, In late 2017, we rolled out beautiful new menus that I personally laid out in design, printed,  stuffed, and yes, we were forced to increase some prices.  It wasn’t easy for me to swallow, but it happened – it will likely happen again in the future years and the next time, without so much drama and production. In order to stay in business and do what we do, we have to raise prices when necessary.

This chaotic, amazing, wonderful, business is a daily challenge and I’m up for it completely and thankfully.  It’s absolutely some of the hardest work you can imagine and I mean – very low glamour – straight up hard work.  I value everyone’s dollar that is earned and spent with us.  I respect your hard work.   I want you to get your “every single dollars worth” at Sherman’s,  in your meal and in your experience.

You have my word that I’ll never, and I DO MEAN EVER, sacrifice the quality of my food products or the kitchen staff who prepares your meals. You also have my word that I WILL keep pushing, working hard and serving the Sherman’s customers to the very best of my ability – along with my amazing staff and crew.

Speaking of the kitchen staff – We have the best of the best – we couldn’t do what we do without their knowledge and hard work ethic.  I do not send them home when we are having a pitifully slow lunch or supper.  I do not cheat them on hours. I do not micro manage them.  To watch them work as a team and in great unison is remarkable and impressive in every way.   They are not perfect but they are professionals at what they do – they work hard and they deserve praise – but praise won’t pay their bills – so we do what we can every single shift to keep customers happy and coming in the doors, to be able to pay them – all of them – even when we are so very stinky slow that we know that the shift may end up being “a wash”, we pay them. We love and appreciate them greatly.

You may see plenty of new faces in our serving/waitress staff.  Please just Love us anyway. We are trying. Those ladies bust it and that job is certainly not meant for everyone.  I’d challenge just about anyone to keep up with them during a busy Friday or Saturday night – or really any lunch shift – or heck – anytime.   It’s mind blowing. They work ALOT. I demand a lot of them and I do it on behalf of our customers.  I can’t possibly explain how difficult the staffing is for this position so I will not even try – just please trust me that I am always working to find hard working, conscientious,  pleasant, capable, fast moving, drug free, honest people to serve you table side.

I could write a book on our daily lives and it would no doubt be SUPER interesting and quite eye opening.

So, The next time you want a quote on chicken tenders to feed 100 friends at a party (this is a strictly hypothetical scenario) and we quote you a number that makes you squeal tires to the nearest Walmart to price compare their frozen bag of pre-breaded tenders….. think about this.  We are not a multi billion dollar industry.  Compare our product and time.  We are talking, hand cut, hand battered, deliciously seasoned – real chicken.  It’s deep fried by someone who hand sifted & seasoned the flour – after someone else changed or strained the gallons of fryer grease.   We are using labor time and electricity and gas and food supplies.  The ranch and honey mustard dipping sauces , yes – all homemade – more labor costs, supplies, etc.  The container we put the chicken in costs us. The container we put the dressing in costs us.  The paper we line the container with…. it costs us, too.  We do all the work and there are many players in place to make it happen. You are asking for the convenience to order, pick it up, and serve. Prepare to pay for the convenience. IF we just charged ONLY what it costs us, we could not possibly ever pay a bill or a bank note or the other several thousands of dollars that we pay out each month. This is a business.  We pray we get to stay in business for many more years but we can’t do it without appropriate income.

Thank you for believing in us.  Thank you for being our customers and for second chances if needed.  We will soon celebrate 5 full years in business.  We are so very honored!

Many thanks for reading my mini-book❤️🙈
Love, Allison